Need advice building a $1000 < system

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  08 August 2004
Need advice building a $1000 < system

Hi everyone ,

last time I bought a computer was 6 years ago so I am out of the loop. Here is my dilemma:

my girlfriends wants to buy a desktop and her budget is $1000 , she needs a computer that can play games and do some modelling\painting on. Are there any brands\websites I should check out? or If you built a similar system recently? any advice is much appreciated.

Cheers ,
  08 August 2004
I just built a pc for ~$1000 at the start of summer. In that price range, you're pretty much left with an athlon XP as your best choice for a processor. Here is (with a few changes from what I purchased) what I would reccomend:

mobo: Abit nf7-s
cpu: 35 watt mobile athlon 2400+
cpu cooler: Scythe Samurai (ugly, but by all accounts makes up for it with its cooling, and low noise)
ram: 512mb of good brand (kingston, corsair, mushkin) pc3200 (down clock the ram for better timings, 3-2-3 is better than 2-3-3)
HD: watch the sales, pick based on size (all brands are pretty good now days, but try for WD, Maxtor, Seagate, Samsung, Hitachi) (my Samsung 160gig is dead silent, seagates are supposed to be aswell)
graphics: pick up a radeon 9800 pro for ~$200
case: by a nice antec Sonata, but be prepared to replace the antec psu (I picked up a MGE vigor 450, solid as a rock, all voltages read as they are rated, plus it glows blue...)
optical drive: lite-on cd-rw/dvd combo (works extremely well, but is loud as hell when burning)
monitor: I like my NEC FE771SB, although when running @ 1280x1024 it only refreshes at 60hz, so I can honestly say it hurts me to use XSI
  08 August 2004
okay. I just got a new pc from Realy great because you start with nothing and its fully customizable. I got a new system pretty nice, p4 3.4ghz 800fsb ht all that good stuff. A gig of ram. No hard drive no os. but nice case with fans nice soundblaster sound card and an all in wonder radeon 128. allightle over a thousand with a cool case lights some softs nero six a dvd burner 400 watt power suply case fan and some other junk. You could get a celeron or a slower p4 with less ram maybe 512 for under 800. I spent some time installing the hard drive floppy extra ram ect, but you could get a nice machine with no work on it for cheap.

heres a nice machine for 471. Celeron 2.2ghz. extra fans, basic ecs mother board with audio and lan, 8xagp 800fsb ect. 256 of ram 80gb hard drive, geforce4-ti4800se 128mbit, 6chanel audio, floppy drive, cdrom drive, 10/100 nic card nice case same one i got in silver though they have many other cool cases. Thats prety nice for the price. The celeron will do fine for light rendering (take a while on animations with gi and such) but good general purpose. The graphx card might be upgraded as well as some more ram depending on how much of a power user she is. Im using the same nic card and its fine. I have my old one but didnt bother to switch. Sound card might be something to consider depending on how important it is. Cdburner if you want. Basically its a good deal. Under 500 for that machine. I recomend it. good luck.
see my machineflesh entry
  08 August 2004
I just built a new rig over the last week for about $900 CDN which would be about $700 US now. Got Doom III loaded and is performing pretty well. Once the Radeon X800 drops in price a bit I'll slap one in to the system then I'm sure D3 (and HL2) will scream.

I didn't intend to have a new system but it all started with a great deal on the DVD burner which would not function in my previous 3 year old PIII 600MHz system.

All the listed components were purchased through a single local shop except the video card which was on the discontinued table at Staples.

This is what I got (all prices in CDN):

Gigabyte P4 Titan GA-81848P-L mobo ($100)
Intel P4 2.80E CPU 800MHz FSB ($280) (sorry but I can't stand AMD!)
Crucial 512MB DDR400 Ram ($140)
PNY GeForce 128MB 5600 FX Ultra ($170)
LG 8x DVDR/RW Dual-Layer Multi-Drive GSA-4120B ($135)
Elite V60 case w/ 400W I-Cute PSU w/ 2 front USB 2.0 ports & side fan ($70)
additional case fan ($7)

Total: A respectable $902

I didn't buy a new monitor as my 3 year old Viewsonic 19" CRT still produces a great image. Although there is a nice 20" Samsung LCD I'm interested in! I kept my two original Maxtor HDs (15 & 20GB) but plan to pick up a 120 GB ($120) or bigger Maxtor in a couple of weeks. I also added my Plextor 48x CDR/RW burner into the mix. The Gigabyte mobo has built in 5.1 audio but I'm using my Hercules Game Theater XP which rocks. I'm also going to slap in two more 512MB RAM sticks in boosting the baby up to 1.5GB of pure energy. O/S is my existing XP Pro which I simply reinstalled into the new system.

I think this system would be considered an average gaming rig but for my purposes it will do just fine. I may use it for CG as well but I actually prefer using my Dell laptop for the "real fun stuff".

Speaking of Dell, Sheep you may want to check them out since they seem to have really good deals of late. I got my Engineering Student friend a really nice Dell rig for about $1300 CDN incl. 19" monitor that he uses for some gaming, Cinema 4D (he owns ver. 6), and AutoCAD. They may have something that will be more than great for your g/f's gaming/painting endeavours. Good luck!

Listen: Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds
  08 August 2004
id go on pricewatch and just check some hardware. When you see a realy goo deal on hardware way below retail check out the site. if all the parts are cheap your custom pc will be too.
see my machineflesh entry
  08 August 2004
i would definitely take a gander at ebay for graphics cards. im dubious about buying RAM, HDs and CPUs on ebay, since they can easily be damaged in the post or be full of bad sectors and errors. But graphics cards are great on ebay. I recently picked up a quadro 900XGL for only 110! (think they're around 450/500 retail nowadays, so it's a bargain) and it was in perfect working order with all the cables.
Alex York
Founder of Atelier York
Bespoke London-Based Architectural Visualization
  08 August 2004
good sugestion. on the graphix cards. If im ever looking for a graphix card update i'll look at ebay first.
see my machineflesh entry
  08 August 2004
Well if she is going to be doing some gaming, you cannot get any better than going with the AMD Athlon64 processors.

A friend of mine wanted a small box for a variety of uses, and he built one for just under 1,000.00

there are a couple of vendors, Shuttle being one I think, that has an A64 small form factor cube for cheap.

A64 3000 is like 150.00, Gigabyte K8N PRO motherboard is around 100.00 or an nForce3 250 board i slike 120.00 to 150.00 dollars.

OCZ and Crucial both make great ram, great prices. PC3200 1gb. (512 x 2) check pricewatch.

You can even get a nice quality nVidia GeForce card, 8x AGP with TV IN and Out for around 150.00
TYAN S2912WG2NR * Dual Opteron 2360 2.5ghz Quad Cores * Quadro FX4600 * 16gb RAM
  08 August 2004
i'd take a Pentium at half the performance of AMD at double the price any given day of the week.
only go to ebay for 2nd generation cards.
VIA's amd 64 chipset is as good as nforce 3.
9800 pro is the card to buy (new) i saw a good deal on a 9600XT.
stick to 120GB hard drives or under.
stay away from LG DVD burners.
stay away from Antec PSU's
  08 August 2004
I would build your own if you can, you can often get better components and will end up with a more solid system than a pre-built box from dell et al. I don't know about dollars, but in the UK you can make a respectable system for under 1000. So I am sure you will be able to get something respectable. My choice of components are as follows:

Amd Athlon 2500+ or up. Try get the Barton core, as it runs cooler

ATI 9800pro GFX card. I just migrated from Nvidia to ATI, mainly to avoid the noise on the former. Good value aswell as the new chipsets have been released. And will play HL2 and D3.

2gig ram if you can. 1gig minimum. Get branded ram as well. More reliable.

The other bits are more generic and you have loads of options.

BIG PIECE OF ADVICE: before you buy a certain motherboard, go to some forums and check for any major problems that have been reported. Often it will be compatability porblems. Often the motherboard companys run their own boards which are cool.
Gareth Qually
Slowly Making Smoke
  08 August 2004
I built my PC for about $1000 almost a year ago now. I based my system off of the guides at . You should go there and check out their Value gaming PC buyer's guide. They last updated it in June, so I'm sure the prices have gone down a little bit, but they pretty much start with a budget of $1000 and build the best computer possible with the money available (AMD or Pentium).

Some of you mentioned which is really good for finding the lowest prices on hardware online. You should also check the papers and watch for deals on hardware rebates and that sort of thing, is good for finding deals like that. Buying OEM usually saves money, but I saved the most from rebates. I got a 16x Pioneer dvd drive for $30, a 52x Lite-on cd burner for $20, and a 160gig Maxtor HD for $90 after rebate, so its worth keeping an eye out for deals like that. Filling out rebates and waiting for them is a pain though. Hope that helps.
  08 August 2004
I built this for about 1100 euros back in december:

Athlon 2600
Antec 1080 AMG case
1.5 GB kingston memory cl2
Gigabyte GA-7N400 pro-2 motherboard
40 GB western digital 8 mb cache
2x Western Digital Raptors 37 GB 10k rpm
80 GB Western Digital 8 mb cache
El-cheapo Geforce FX 5200 (switched it with my older and trustier Ti4200)

All brands, and high-quality.
Should cost you 200/300 euros less right now, and considering hardware is WAY cheaper in the US, you should reach the sub-$1000 mark.
Considering you'd probably not put in 1.5Gigs or RAM and twin raptors, you could use that money for a larger single drive instead of 4, and add a nice flatpanel monitor.

I'm very statisfied with my system, its stable and its hella fast. Just be sure to configure windows properly with these sort of specs.
  01 January 2006
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